At Widden Primary School, we recognise the fundamental importance of English teaching and learning and strive for excellence in all aspects of English. Our aim is simple: to ensure that our pupils leave us able to read, write and communicate in a manner that means they will be able to enjoy and make the very most of their future opportunities as learners in any curriculum area. We believe that children learn best when they are engaged, safe, comfortable and happy and as such we intend to ensure that their English skills are never a barrier to their achievements and successes throughout their learning journey.
'There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot in treasure Island" - Walt Disney
At Widden Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, all of our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Widden Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
During the school day, every child has an opportunity to read independently or alongside an adult and at length in their classroom amongst their peers. For children working at an early reading level, choose books from any of their classroom reading areas. They are given time to enjoy reading these books. We have established a wide selection of books for all classes that children can enjoy at home and at school alongside their families.
Children are expected to read their books every week night at home to improve the fluency of their reading. Children’s home reading is tracked; in EYFS and KS1, children’s reading records must be signed by an adult. In KS2, children are able to sign their own reading record to indicate that they have read at home. Parents are encouraged to support children with their reading journey and reading activities are available weekly on our learning platform, Seesaw.
WHOLE CLASS READING and COMPREHENSION
At Widden Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader (Kirstin Hines) who drives the early reading programme in our school. At Widden, we use VIPERs (vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve and sequence/summarise) as a tool to develop the children’s comprehension skills. This teaches the children to confidently use the 6 reading domains that form the National Curriculum, the areas the children need to know and understand when doing comprehension.
We have implemented a book challenge for each year group, "The Red Reading Bus Challenge". There are a wide range of books matching the varying abilities of children in the year group and books that link to the class author names. Each year group has a different number of books as part of their challenge and children can collect ‘points’ depending on the book that has been read from each bus line. Prizes are given to pupils who have collected the greatest amounts of points at the end of the year.
At Widden Primary School, we recognise the impact of reading to children and ensure that this is part of our daily routine in all classes. Books are selected that may link with their topic and are shared with the children daily. Additionally, children are read other stories and books in assemblies with other classes. This is an opportunity for children to be exposed to a wider range of books from authors the children may not have heard of and foster their love of reading.
At Widden Primary School, we strive for our children to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively through their writing. The children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different purposes and genres. Our children are exposed to many different examples of literature to develop their understanding of different texts. When children leave Widden Primary School they should be well prepared to read and write confidently for a range of purposes and audiences when beginning their senior school English journey.
Our Writing Journey
At this stage, teachers plan a range of engaging activities to help the children internalise the structure and pattern of language associated to the text type. These tasks can also be used to elicit the children’s prior knowledge and areas that need to be taught
An exemplar text is provided (or several) for the children to read and analyse the key features. The class can then co-construct a ‘toolkit’ for this type of text, which they will be able to use when completing their own writing. During this stage the children develop their understanding of specific features of the particular text type, through a range of activities such as, hot-seating, drama, freeze frames. These will give the children the opportunity to 'talk' and reasoning with language prior to to the development of their writing.
Planning, Writing & Editing
At this stage, it is important that the children feel safe to approach the planning and writing process, so the teacher models and ‘share writes’ with the children.
We recognise that planning and writing take place together, therefore it is not always necessary to plan a text in whole. Sometimes a text can be planned and written in multiple stages. This way it allows the children to innovate and change their ideas in a developmental way.
Throughout this process, the children are encouraged to share their planning and writing. This provides them with timely feedback, which they can apply immediately into editing their writing.
Improving and Presenting
We recognise that children must be taught the skills of editing and improving, before they edit and improve their own writing. Time is spent teaching these essential skills in a differentiated and focus driven manner.
Once secure, the children have time to alter their work in the light of what they have learnt. This stage will continue to focus on the next steps needed to support progression, so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text.
Finally, the children’s writing should be published or displayed. It is important to provide children with a purpose for their writing.
Additionally, this stage provides a further opportunity for the children to present their writing orally to their peers or a different audience.